Are The Drones Spying On ‘Them’ … Or ‘Us’?

Drones Over AmericaNat Hentoff suggests that those friendly drones may not be quite so confidence-inspiring as our government would have us believe, at WorldNetDaily:

In May of last year, David Kilcullen, a counterinsurgency adviser to Gen. David Petraeus from 2006 to 2008, co-authored a strategic analysis (“Death from Above, Outrage Down Below,” New York Times, May 17, 2009). He emphasized that the “public outrage” among Pakistan’s civilians caused by our drone attacks “is hardly limited to the region in which they take place.”

Extensively reported by the news media, “the persistence of these attacks on Pakistani territory offends people’s deepest sensibilities, alienates them from their government, and contributes to Pakistan’s instability.”

A year later, in Foreign Policy in Focus (, May 19), Conn Hallinan, reporting on the increase in drone strikes in Pakistan, notes that the continuing controversy over the actual number of corollary civilian deaths “is a sharply debated issue.” Neither President Obama, who authorizes them, nor the CIA, which does the actual killing, directly gives us the numbers. As for the Pakistani government’s figures, Hallinan continues:

“The word ‘civilian’ is a slippery one, because no one knows exactly what criteria the United States uses to distinguish a ‘militant’ from a civilian. Is someone with a gun a ‘militant?’ Since large numbers of males in the frontier regions of Pakistan carry guns, that definition would target a huge number of people.”

I mentioned this life-ending ambiguity in drone strikes to a person who claims to be concerned with human-rights abuses. Shrugging, she said: “I don’t have to worry about that. The drones aren’t coming here; and since they’re pilotless, there are no American casualties. So I’m all for their use.”

But drones are indeed in our skies.

Constitutionalist John Whitehead – who is also a careful master researcher – points out (“Drones Over America: Tyranny at Home,”, June 28), that “unbeknownst to most Americans, remote-controlled pilotless aircraft have been employed domestically for years now. They were first used as a national security tool for patrolling America’s borders, and then as a means of monitoring citizens.”…

[continues t WorldNetDaily]


Majestic is gadfly emeritus.

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5 Comments on "Are The Drones Spying On ‘Them’ … Or ‘Us’?"

  1. Cerebralcaustic | Jul 22, 2010 at 7:46 am |

    Hentoff's opinion's worth a lot to me: he's one of rather few free-speech advocates who's called shenanigans on the ACLU for supporting “sensitivity codes” (read: oppressive restrictions on speech) on university campuses.

    And there's certainly potential for misuse of these drones.

  2. Hadrian999 | Jul 22, 2010 at 9:31 pm |

    just wait til one of those drones crashes into a day care center in the heartland.

  3. It seems funny to me to treat drones as though they're essentially different from piloted aircraft, which can just as easily perform spying or airstrike operations.

    • Hadrian999 | Jul 24, 2010 at 1:34 pm |

      the pilots are drastically different,
      actual combat pilots are officers with years of preparation.
      drone pilots take a 23 week course.

  4. Hadrian999 | Jul 24, 2010 at 6:34 pm |

    the pilots are drastically different,
    actual combat pilots are officers with years of preparation.
    drone pilots take a 23 week course.

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